The Weekend Leader - During US visit, PM Modi rallied developing world to pursue democracy as antidote to radicalism

During US visit, PM Modi rallied developing world to pursue democracy as antidote to radicalism

New Delhi



Prime Minister Narendra Modis address to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Modi has been noted for its messaging at many levels.

During his robust speech, PM Modi spoke about the threat from Afghanistan's descent into a hub of global terrorism , after the forcible takeover of the country by a radical Taliban . The PM also strongly advocated the urgency for a rule-based governance of the high seas-a veiled reference to China's expansionism in the South China Sea.

But the subtext of the PM message was even more profound. PM Modi bannered during his address that threated by regressive models of radicalism and authoritarianism, democracy as a governing system is the way forward for the rest of the world, including the Global South.

PM Modi stressed that democracy delivers good governance, citing India's solid achievements in the social and economic spheres. Consequently, democracy as a superior system that guaranteed prosperity , without undermining fundamental rights such as free speech and gender equality is, by its very nature, also a vital antidote to defeat false narratives of radicalism, pursued by Pakistan, and an oligarchic model adopted by China. In fact, China been espousing that its top-down model is the best way to achieve rapid economic progress-a message that it has hammering at elites, especially in the developing world, under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). PM Modi robustly countered this flawed advocacy during his UNGA intervention.

In a veiled reference to Pakistan, which has been backing Taliban radicals in Afghanistan, the Prime Minister warned that, a policy of sponsoring terrorism can backfire on its perpetrators. "Those who use terrorism as a political tool have to understand that terrorism is an equally big threat to them as well," PM Modi stressed. The Prime Minister also bugled that , "The danger from regressive and extremist thinking is on the rise," --a day after India gave a strong response to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan bringing up the Kashmir issue at the UNGA.

In an oblique reference to China on account of its increased belligerence in the Indo-Pacific, the Prime Minister asserted that an that oceans were a shared heritage. "The oceans should be used, not abused," he remarked.

"Our oceans are also the lifeline of international trade. We must protect them from the race for expansion. The international community must speak in one voice to strengthen a rule-based world order," he added.

In contrast to regressive models which are not based on rationality or science, the Indian model of revitalised democracy worked to usher in a new era of modernisation, which makes full use of digital technology.

PM Modi highlighted that India, an emerging economy, is carrying out a campaign to ensure that piped clean water reaches over 170 million homes in India. India was also using drones to map over 600,000 villages to give people digital records of their homes and lands, a process that will reduce property disputes and give people increased access to credit and bank loans.

The Prime Minister went on to say that India's progress in the scientific and technological sectors was scalable, cost effective and could benefit the world. Indeed, its new Covid-19 vaccine delivery programme offered digital support to register the administration of millions of doses in a single day.

PM Modi also announced that India has developed the world's first DNA vaccine, which can be administered to anyone above the age of 12, and an mRNA vaccine that is in the final stages of development, he added.

"Despite limited resources, India is completely invested in the development and manufacture of vaccines," said Modi, issuing an open invitation to manufactures across the world: "Come, make vaccine in India."

In another reference that questioned the Chinese model, PM Modi said that India is becoming a democratic and reliable partner for global industrial diversification. Moreover, India has struck a balance between economy and ecology, and is moving forward with "great speed" on its renewable energy goals.

"Science-based, rational and progressive thinking must be the basis for development," said Modi, explaining that India was rolling out innovative programmes in schools, creating 'start-up labs', and, in honour of the 75th anniversary of the country's independence, planning to launch 75 satellites - made by Indian students - into space - IANS

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